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Multilingua

Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

Ed. by Piller, Ingrid

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Volume 37, Issue 6

Issues

Intercultural communication within a Chinese subsidiary of a Western MNC: Expatriate perspectives on language and communication issues

Michał WilczewskiORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7650-5759 / Anne-Marie Søderberg
  • Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark, E-mail: aso.msc@cbs.dk
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Arkadiusz Gut
  • Department of Philosophy, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland, E-mail: kupisa@kul.lublin.pl
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-06-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2017-0095

Abstract

This study investigates Polish expatriates’ stories of encounters with local personnel in a Chinese subsidiary of a Western multinational company. A narrative analysis of the stories produced important insights into Polish-Chinese communication in an intra-subsidiary context. Low proficiency in the host language was a serious obstacle to expatriate socialization and a source of expatriates’ exclusion and social isolation in the workplace, which often led to stress, frustration, and negative attitudes toward collaboration with local personnel. Language-related issues prevented the expatriates from acquiring information from Chinese superiors, learning about problems within a team, and participating in decision-making. The findings of this case study relate to communication challenges in the Chinese subsidiary, expatriates’ accounts of how they overcame communication difficulties, and their reflections on what fostered and hampered intercultural communication.

Keywords: expatriate; intercultural collaboration; intercultural communication; multinational company (MNC); narrative

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About the article

Published Online: 2018-06-05

Published in Print: 2018-10-25


This article was supported by The (Polish) Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Grant Number: ‘Mobility Plus’/1310/MOB/IV/2015/0, The (Polish) National Science Center, Grant Number: Harmonia 6/UMO-2014/14/M/HS1/00436


Citation Information: Multilingua, Volume 37, Issue 6, Pages 587–611, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2017-0095.

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